FBI Director Wray Remarks for National Police Week 2021
Director Christopher A. Wray provided remarks about fallen law enforcement officers as part of National Police Week 2021.
Q: What sorts of dangers do law enforcement officials face each day?
Director Christopher Wray: Law enforcement officers these days are dealing with a whole range of threats at a time when, in many ways, the job is more dangerous than ever. Whether it’s responding to some volatile domestic violence call or a traffic stop or executing a search warrant or arrest, the dangers are very real and constant. And it’s a reminder that every single one of the officers that we’ve lost in the line of duty this year is a son or a daughter, a husband or a wife. Typically, a mom or a dad. These are incredibly special people. If you stop and think about what kind of person is willing to put his or her life on the line for a total stranger, and then to get up and do that every single morning, is truly extraordinary. They deserve our deepest, deepest gratitude.
Q: What is your reaction to the uptick in law enforcement deaths this year? How does that impact you as the Director?
Wray: What we’re seeing this year is an alarming uptick in violence against law enforcement, and it’s something that deserves way more attention than it’s getting. We are looking at now 59 officers or agents murdered in the line of duty this year. That’s an over 50 percent increase from last year. That basically translates to every five days--more often than every five days in this country--an officer is murdered in the line of duty. And that’s totally unacceptable, and it’s a tragedy and it needs attention.
And of course, we at the FBI have experienced our own share of loss—two great agents down in the Miami area, Laura Schwartzenberger and Dan Alfin, who were shot and killed while executing a search in a violent crimes against children investigation. Doing some of the hardest work we have. And it breaks my heart, and it’s the kind of thing that Americans need to know is happening with alarming frequency in this country.
Q: As Director, what does the FBI Wall of Honor mean to you?
Wray: So, this is a huge building here at FBI Headquarters, but this space, the Wall of Honor, is probably the most sacred, most hallowed ground in it. And we have matching Walls of Honor in every one of our field offices.
I’m constantly struck as FBI Director about what incredible people we have at the FBI. And this wall reminds me of how some of those incredible people have made the ultimate sacrifice. And it gives me sort of renewed inspiration, and I hope it gives all of our workforce renewed inspiration, to make sure we honor all of these folks who have laid down their lives for others in the way we go about our work of protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution.
Q: What message do you have for law enforcement officials who are working to protect our communities and keep our citizens safe?
Wray: I want the men and women of law enforcement, the heroes in law enforcement, to know how grateful I am for their work, for their courage, for their service, in some cases, for their sacrifice. Both as FBI Director and as just a regular American citizen. What they do every day for others in our communities is nothing short of heroism. And it deserves our deepest and most profound gratitude and respect.
You can be sure that as long as I’m FBI Director, I’m bound and determined to keep raising this concern about violence against law enforcement and to make sure that we’re not only sounding the alarm but doing everything we can at the FBI to support our partners.
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